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updated: 1/7/2014 8:26 AM

Murray Center trial begins Tuesday

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Associated Press

A bench trial on a challenge to the state's decision to close a southern Illinois center for the developmentally disabled is scheduled to begin in Chicago.

U.S. District Judge Marvin Aspen is set to begin hearing testimony on Tuesday at the Dirksen federal building.

The Murray Parents' Association and developmentally disabled groups are trying to block the closure of Centralia's Murray Developmental Center.

The state wants to close the facility as part of a strategy to save money and have more community-based care for people with disabilities.

The group says Murray's 250 residents have severe disabilities that only an institution can handle. They dispute the state's claim that community care would save Illinois nearly $120,000 per year, per resident.

Settlement meetings have been held, but no agreement has been reached.

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